Thomas Morris, M.D., is new to Siena Lakes, the Erickson Senior Living community in Naples, Fla., but he's not new to the Erickson family. He began working in 2006 at the Chicago campus, and over the years, he's worked or assisted at eight other Erickson communities, most recently at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Ashburn, Va.
Morris explains that what he’s enjoyed most about his long career with Erickson are the people he works with and the patients he sees.
“Erickson employees are just a special breed. We have a mission. We make the safety, comfort, and dignity of our residents such a priority. It’s wonderful to work with everyone,” says Morris. “The residents who are attracted to our Erickson communities like the concept. They’re social—that’s what I’ve found when I go to different communities across the country.”
Starting a medical career
Morris was born and raised in Chicago. He and his wife Rosemary knew each other in high school and were married before he attended medical school. Before becoming a medical doctor, Morris trained and worked as a chiropractor.
In the 1980s, he attended medical school and completed his residency in Chicago. As a board-certified family doctor, he served in private practice for 15 years before joining Erickson. He’s now been with Erickson for 15 years, as well.
While Morris enjoyed working at Ashby Ponds, he and Rosemary considered moving to Florida to be closer to two of their five children (the other three live in Chicago). Morris also really liked the idea of helping a brand-new community set up its medical center.
Morris currently works with a medical assistant and a practice administrator. “We see patients and manage their care. I can give exams, draw blood, give injections, and help them with medications and even minor wound care,” explains Morris.
Right now, the medical center is starting out with the essentials, Morris says. They provide routine patient care, and they have a 24-hour security team, all of whom are trained as emergency responders.
Positioning for growth
“The medical center and its care will continue to grow throughout the years as we add skilled nursing care,” says Morris. Part of his job is to build relationships with the medical community in the areas surrounding Siena Lakes—including two nearby hospitals.
He wants to be able to provide referrals to specialists if residents need that extra level of care. Having these connections would help him make recommendations, in the case that he doesn’t know of any health care providers within a particular field.
Morris says that depending on what community members say they want, the medical center will grow to meet those needs.
For example, if several residents stated that they would like to have a podiatrist on site, he and the medical center staff will work with them to try to arrange it. “[Expanding our services] will be based on the needs in the community,” he says.
Residents can continue to see their own physicians if they prefer to.
Right on site
When residents ask Morris if he is better than their current practitioners, his semi-joking response is, “No, but I’m closer.”
Morris thinks it’s smart for all residents to at least make one visit to the medical center—just so they have all medications, conditions, and allergies noted in an electronic health record on campus. That way, if an emergency were to occur, he and the other medical staff would be armed with all the background medical information necessary to treat that person.
“I’ve worked at big campuses and small campuses—the goals of care are always the same: we want to maintain the safety, comfort, and dignity of our residents. That’s at the forefront for us,” says Morris.
“I truly think medicine is a calling—I know for me that’s what it felt like. It’s a job where at the end of the day, I can go home, and feel like maybe the world is a little bit better.”
To learn more about how resident well-being is paramount at Siena Lakes, request a brochure or a visit now!